An ax. Public domain image.

Metro has been signaling for a long time that major service cuts were coming. Between the impending expiration of Seattle STBD funding (with only very partial replacement) and the major loss of sales tax revenue caused by COVID-19, the funding picture is drastically different than it was a year ago. Now we know just how major those cuts will be. On Saturday, September 19, Metro’s network will regress to its worst state in years.

Very little is spared. We lose most of the additional frequency on the Seattle network that STBD funded. Much night and weekend service that became frequent in recent years won’t be frequent anymore. Express service suspended during the pandemic because of lower commute ridership isn’t coming back for the time being. Outside Seattle, service restructures built on increased frequency (including those in Kirkland and Kent) are going to lose some of that frequency. There are so many cuts, affecting so much of the network, that we have little choice but to present them in chart form. But the big picture is that local service is largely back to 2013 levels, and peak-hour commuters will have to use that reduced local service instead of the expresses they were used to before the pandemic.

This is not a formula for continuing Seattle’s transit mode share growth, reducing carbon emissions, or improving mobility for people without cars. The reduced network makes both commute and off-work trips slower and wait times longer. More people are going to drive and park, especially those traveling nights and weekends. As traffic volume recovers, expect worse traffic than Seattle has seen before. The city is going to have a tough time meeting the mode share goals it set for the West Seattle bridge closure. Even once the pandemic is over, it is going to be a sustained and difficult political effort to restore Seattle bus service to where it was at the end of 2019, let alone to make any of the further improvements Metro imagined in Metro Connects..

If there is any good news, it is that Metro wisely has sought to spare those routes that have carried the most essential workers during the pandemic. Workhorse routes that have seen only modest drops in ridership, mostly in the south end, are almost totally unaffected.

In addition to the cuts, there is a significant restructure of service in and around Kent. Normally we would give this much more coverage, as it will improve service for Kent-Auburn riders (even after the cuts) and make some east-west trips faster and simpler. But since the cuts are so sweeping and will make this post so long, we’ll refer riders in Kent to our earlier post for details. That post remains accurate except for COVID-related cuts detailed below.

Two charts listing out all the cuts are below the jump: one for all-day service and one for peak-hour service.

The all-day service chart below lists frequencies starting this month, with September 2019 frequency in parentheses if it is different. For instance, if a service is reduced from 15-minute to 30-minute frequency, it would say “30 (15).” Cuts are indicated in bold red text.

RouteM-F peakM-F middayM-F eveningM-F nightS/S middayS/S eveningS/S nightOwl
A1010153010153060
B10151530151530
C*4-1012153012-15 (12)153060
D6-1010 (12)**1515-3015 (12)153060
E4-1010101510-15 (10)10-152060
F10151530151530
11515303030 (20)3030
2 (N)30303030303060 (30)
2 (S)1515153030 (15)3030
3/4 (N)15 (8)1530 (15)3030 (15)303060
3 (S)15-2030303030303060
4 (S)30303030303030
515 (10)1520 (15)3020-30 (15)20-30 (15)60 (30)
7*8-10101515-3010-121515-3060
810-1215 (12)20 (15)3015-2020-3030
101015 (10)20 (15)30 (15)30 (15)30 (15)30 (15)
111520 (15)303030 (15)3030– (60)
1210-121520 (15)3030 (15)30 (15)30
1315-30303030303060 (30)
141515303030 (20)3030
21151520-3060 (30)20-30 (15)30 (15)60 (30)
2415-30303060 (30)303060 (30)
2610-30303030303030
2720-303030– (60)30-60 (30)60 (30)– (60)
2810-15303030303030
3130 (20)3030– (30)– (30)
3230 (20)303030303030
33153030– (30)30-60 (30)60 (30)– (60)
36*8-10101515-3010-151515-3060
408-1015152015-20 (15)20
(15-20)
30
41*5-10121515151530
44101215-20 (15)20 (15)15
(12-15)
20 (15)20 (15)– (60)
4515151520-30
(15-20)
15-20 (15)15-30 (15)30
(15-30)
4812 (10)15 (10)20 (15)20-30
(15-30)
15
(10-15)
15***30
(15-30)
60
491215 (12)30 (15)30 (15)1530 (15)30 (15)60
502030
(20-30)
3030303030
60*15153030303030-60 (30)
627-81515301515-20 (15)30
6515 (10)15 (10)1520-30 (15)1520 (15)30– (60)
6715 (10)15 (10)1520-30 (15)1520 (15)30– (60)
701015 (10)15
(10-15)
151520 (15)20-30 (15)– (60)
73/
373
20 (15)30– (30)30– (30)
7415-30– (30)
7515 (10)15153030
(15-30)
30
(15-30)
30
10115153060303060
10515303030303030
10610-151530 (15)301530 (15)30
10715-30303030-60303060
1183030-909090
120*7-10121515-301515-2030
12415153030-6030
(15-30)
3030-6060
12520-30304545/ –
(30)
12820-30303030303030
13115-30303060303060
13230303060303060
14830306060
15012-15153060153060
1533030
15615-303030-606060
160
(169/
180S)
1515****306030306060
(part)
161
(180N)
15-3030306030306060
165
(164/
166)
303030-60
(30)
30-6030-60
168303030
(30-60)
6030 (60)30-60 (60)60
18115-303030-603030-60
182303060
18330306030/ –
18420 (15)303060303060
187303060
2043060
208100100120
22130306030-6060
224100100
2253030-60 (30)606060
22630306060
(30-60)
60
2303030606060
2313030606060
2393030603060
24020 (15)20-303030303030
24130306060
(30-60)
60
24515 (12)1530603030-6060
25015153060 (30)303060
2557-1520 (15)20 (15)3015-20 (15)20 (15)30
26930 (20)30– (30)
271*12
(8-10)
153060306060
3306060
33130
(15-30)
3030-60
34530
(15-30)
303060306060
34630303060306060
34730303060306060
34830303060306060
3727-15153030-6030
(15-20)
3030
6313030
635153030/ –
9013030603060
903306030-60
90620-30303060
90760
9143060/ –
91540-606090
91720-403560
9303030
*Frequencies stay largely the same, but isolated individual trips are cut.
**Increased for social distancing reasons.
***Not a typo. The 48 will have more frequent evening service weekends than weekdays.
****Improved from 30 minutes on the portion of the route that was formerly route 180.

All-day routes 22, 47, 71, 78, 200, 246, and 249, all coverage routes with low ridership, are suspended temporarily during the pandemic.

The weekday peak service chart lists weekday peak frequency, for those routes that are still operating, or either “suspended” or “deleted” depending on whether Metro plans to restore the route. Again, frequency cuts are marked in bold red text.

RouteFrequency or status
5XSuspended (use 5 local)
9Suspended (use 7)
15Suspended (use D Line)
17Suspended (use 40)
18Suspended (use 40)
19Suspended (use 24)
21X15-30
29Suspended (use 2N)
37Suspended (use 50 or 775)
4330 peak-direction (30 bidirectional)
55Suspended (use 50 or C Line)
56Suspended (use 50)
57Suspended (use 50)
63Suspended (use 41, 64, or 67)
6430
76Suspended (use 64 or 65)
77Suspended (use 73, 347, 348, or 73)
10230
11115-30
113Suspended (use 120 or 131)
114Suspended (use 111)
116Suspended (use C Line)
118XSuspended (use 118 local)
11930-120
119XSuspended (use 118/119 local)
121Suspended (use 120, 156, or 165)
122Suspended (use 120, 156, or 165)
123Suspended (use 120)
143Suspended (use 101)
154Suspended (use 124 or 150)
157Suspended (use 150, 153, 160, or Sounder)
16220-30
167Suspended (use 101, 150, STX 566, or Sounder)
177Suspended (use STX 577)
178Suspended (use STX 577)
179Suspended (use 181, 187, or STX 577)
186Deleted (use 915)
190Suspended (use 162 or 193)
19330
197Suspended (use STX 577)
21215 (7-10)
216Suspended (use 218 or 269)
217Suspended (use 212 or STX 554)
21815-20 (10-15)
219Suspended (use 218 or 269)
232Suspended (use STX 566 or B Line)
237Suspended (use STX 532 or 535)
252Suspended (use 257)
25730
268Suspended (use STX 545)
30115-30 (10-20)
30430
308Suspended (use STX 522)
30930
31130
312Suspended (use STX 522)
316Suspended (use 26, 64, 345, or 346)
342Suspended (use 331, 372, or STX 532, 535, or 566)
355Suspended (use 5, 45, or 74)
628Suspended (no alternative service)
630Suspended (use STX 550 or 554)
77330
77530
931Suspended (no alternative service)
952Deleted (no alternative service)
School
service
Bellevue school routes in 800 series deleted
Lakeside/UP school routes in 900 series suspended

111 Replies to “Two Axes to Swing for Metro in September”

  1. Time to get a car. Transit will not return for a long time because jobs are becoming decentralized, as people move remotely and Amazon builds sattelite offices to encourage employees to live outside of Seattle.

    1. Time to get a car.

      No, and to be blunt, it astounds me that this is the first comment on a site where commenters, at one point, were the biggest advocate for transit.

      My family doesn’t own a car and adding hundreds of dollars per month onto our budget in response to these cuts is a non-starter. Yes, they’re not great, but even our shambles of a schedule is still much better than we had just five short years ago.

      Transit will not return for a long time because jobs are becoming decentralized

      This assumes that people use transit solely for work. If anything, I use transit more now because I’m not commuting to work. These cuts took most of the peak express network into the “suspended” category, which is reasonable, but there are still a bunch of uses that transit absolutely serves. 15-minute service is worse than 10-minute but better than 60-minute and still healthier, more cost-effective, better for our planet, and less stress than driving a car around our region.

      Tim Eyman screwed us yet again. Even if 976 is overturned, which I am confident it will be, Seattle has been stockpiling the car tab money collected during the court battles. Hopefully we can use that “savings” to buy back some or most of this service, and the smaller car tab rate will continue if (when!) the TBD partial-renewal is approved. But, that cone of uncertainty has cost us the announcement of these cuts.

      1. No, and to be blunt, it astounds me that this is the first comment on a site where commenters, at one point, were the biggest advocate for transit.

        Trolls are everywhere!

    2. My wife’s company (downtown) is not decentralizing, but they are actively discouraging people from riding the bus. They are going to a 4/5ths WFH model and providing free downtown parking. They expect to go to back to a mainly work-in-office model sometime next year, but only after CV-19 is under control (ha!).

      It will be 3 to 4 years before downtown gets back to normal, and a couple of years longer than that for Metro service to catch up.

    3. I agree. My friend just bought a car. I’m very glad I’ve got one too.

      This year has demonstrated transit is not reliable, no matter what the schedule says, because the schedule can change based on political winds.

    4. “Time to get a car” is not a troll; it’s a question many passengers are deliberating as they consider how to react to the new situation. It may be ironic that it was the first post, but we might as well deal with it now. It will be useful for people facing this dilemma, as well as informative for those not in that situation to see how the other half lives.

      I am strongly against having a car myself because I don’t want (A) the $7000/year expense, (B) the stress of worrying about collisions, (C) parking and finding a space, (D) sitting in traffic, (E) having to watch the road constantly rather than reading or looking at the scenery or getting a nap. I grew up in darkest suburbia where my parents drove everywhere, the nearest store was a mile away, and buses were once an hour. I don’t want to go back to that again. I’ve chosen to live in southwest Capitol Hill where the most destinations and bus routes are, and fortunately I can afford it at present, and my job is on a bus route that’s retained. So I’m OK there. If the 550 were deleted, I wouldn’t be able to get to my relatives in Bellevue. I feel for those who don’t have those options, because that could have been me, and may be me in the long term if things get bad. So I think it’s worth listening to people who need a car now or are thinking about getting one. They’re part of the community we live in, and we should be thinking about city/county policies that work for everyone in the community, not just lucky transit nerds.

      I used to bike commute from University Heights (NE 56th Street) to Harborview. I did a scenic loop to Golden Gardens, the Locks and waterfront, down to Costco, and back on 4th Avenue and Eastlake. (4th Avenue was the only dangerous part.) I did two-hour trips on the Burke-Gilman/Sammamish River Trail to a software store east of Marymoor Park. It was a half hour to the ferry terminal via Eastlake/9th/Westlake/Stewart. It was an hour to Mercer Street near Lake Washington Blvd, and maybe an hour more to Rainier Beach on MLK. So it’s clearly feasible to get all around Seattle on a bike; you just have to work around the hills. My strategy was to find the places where all the ascent is compressed into one or two blocks and walk the bike up those; then the rest was reasonably flat. 10th Ave E is not as steep as it looks, and Lakeview Blvd bypasses it.

      But I gave up my bike fifteen years ago, and I don’t feel ready to take it up again now. So it’s transit and walking for now. I don’t feel ready for Uber or bike/scooter shares either. It limits my choice of work options, but I’ve been able to find transit-accessible work since the 1990s, and the choices widened in the early 2000s as more companies started locating in transit-accessible areas.

      My biggest problem now and in the near future is full buses I can’t get on. The 7, and 131/132 are often full or near-full in the afternoons, and I’ve seen “Bus full” signs on the 124 and 150 during that time. If offices start opening en masse, this will become a critical issue. Especially if Metro doesn’t have money for sufficient capacity at the 18-person covid limit. (Articulated buses normally seat 50-55, can have 100 with standees, or 125 crushloaded.)

      If a lot of people switch to cars, we’ll have Los Angeles style traffic. And our carbon emissions, air pollution, fracking destruction, and dependency on the oil giants will be acute. So it may make sense for one person to drive, or they may have no other choice, but the cumulative effects are bad for all of us.

      1. “Transit will not return for a long time because jobs are becoming decentralized, as people move remotely and Amazon builds sattelite (sic) offices to encourage employees to live outside of Seattle.”

        Sounds a lot like trolling. Transit still exists. It isn’t as good as we want, but it still exists. To say that it “won’t return” implies that it is gone. So right off the bat it is false, and yet likely to incite comments (the whole point of trolling).

        It is also full of ridiculous speculation along with ridiculous conjecture. It is quite likely that if Biden is elected, transit service will soon exceed what existed last year, let alone current levels. The “Green New Deal” is a huge part of his campaign, and right in line with “Build Back Better”. I can’t think of any program that would achieve those goals better than a lot more bus service, with the buses built in the United States.

        Oh, and it is ridiculous to think that Amazon is building satellite offices to encourage folks to move to the suburbs. They are building them because some people prefer them. The vast majority of jobs are still listed in Seattle (even though folks will do that work from home for the time being). There are no signs of a long term move to the suburbs from Amazon or any other company.

    5. Time to get a bike or e-bike?

      World cities are increasingly pivoting towards bicycling, at least in the short term. There is a realization that increasing SOV car traffic by even a few percent post pandemic will cripple cities. Deliveries won’t be able to happen on schedule, emergency services will have longer response times. Bicycling is a relatively cheap investment cities can make while they can’t afford things like transit expansions and major highway work. It is time for SDOT to wake up and complete the basic bike network. Heck, even sidewalks are cheap compared to those highway projects. DO NOT double down on the most expensive road projects at the expense of all else. Back to basics!

  2. David, I doubt the American Red Cross would’ve minded if you’d just used their respected symbol. Hope you’re not presently employed as an emergency medic. Aren’t surgical amputations generally done with a rather small saw?

    And Alex, what my own gasoline, maintenance, and insurance statements tell me is the more I invest to fix transit, the less my car’s value will depreciate.

    Also, since JC Penney and Bon Marche were around a lot longer than Jeff Bezos before my local stores folded, I’m not going to bet anything I need that one of his own drones through his windshield won’t get his SUV “canceled” by a semi. Pretty sure KIRO’s traffic-savvy Dave Ross agrees.

    Global humanity’s got a sudden world-wide disease to deal with. And many decades of deferred maintenance have put our country’s politics in the same condition as the West Seattle Freeway, for pretty much the same reason. Also likewise….ours to fix.

    So what I’d like to see a posting on is how well King County Metro and the rest of our local transit agencies, and even moreso their employees, are making use of the resources they still have. And what the rest of us can do to help them keep doing it. From whatever quarter, any input is welcome.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Why not just raise the rates for a bus ride to whatever it actually costs and it will all work out. Sounds quite reasonable to pay for it when you use it and if people want more service just let them.pay for that as well. A properly priced service will flourish if the government gets out of the bus business. They can ride share, car pool, walk, etc. There are actually no free rides in life anyway.

      1. Drivers want freeways to be free.

        Those who use major facilities, such as the interstates and bridges, do not pay for them with their gas tax. If they did, highways would be a private enterprise, and tolls would be the way to properly price such a facility.

        Then your idea makes sense, since carpooling would flourish based on the commodity the roadway is providing – space.

      2. The more bus fares go up, the fewer people ride, so the remaining people have to pay still higher fares, a death spiral that persists until you simply have no bus service.

        Before that happens, you’ll have people who would simply go broke trying to pay the fare. You can’t afford to spend $20-30 on your daily commute if you work at McDonald’s.

        I’m not saying fares should be free, just that you can’t expect fares to cover the full operational cost of service or you will simply have no service.

        Also, there are numerous examples of taxpayers subsidizing the private automobile, so if transit is expected to operate with no subsidy, that’s not competing on a level playing field. Consider the cost of building roads, plus the cost to society of traffic and pollution. Parking requirements is another hidden subsidy for cars. Even time I walk to a store to shop, my grocery bill is subsidizing the cost of parking for other customers that drive. When an apartment comes with free parking, those who live there that don’t have cars effectively subsidize the parking spaces for those that do through their rent. The list goes on and on.

      3. Worth looking at:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farebox_recovery_ratio

        In North America, looks like Muni is highest, at around 70%, with TTC in Toronto close behind at 68% (not including Amtrak, which is close to 100%). In Europe and Asia, recovery above 100% is not unheard of, but primarily in very dense cities, of course.

        I recall that in the early 2000s the TTC was actually close to 80% fare recovery; it was the highest in North America at the time. Apparently this has changed since then, though.

      4. Transit is a public service. Not only does it benefit the people who use it, it benefits everyone — roads are less crowded, people have mobility. In that sense it is like public schools — we all benefit.

        Getting rid of public schools would be a disaster. It would increase the wealth gap. Many poor kids wouldn’t be educated at all (just like the good old days). Speaking of the old days, we could also get rid of the public fire department and EMT as well. It would be a huge step backwards that would hurt the poor and middle class.

        Getting rid of public transportation would have a similar effect. There would be a handful of commuter buses for well to do riders (similar to those that exist for Microsoft, Amazon, etc.). But most public transportation would just go away.

      5. Thanks for the reference AM. It does beg the question though: what does it include for costs? Does it include the capital expense for new lines (which is huge)? For buses, does it include the value of the land (to Jim’s point)? What about the value to society (my point)?

        To be clear, it is a useful number, but by no means does it give the complete picture — although some pinheads might think it does (just like some might think that Ayn Rand was a great economist or philosopher).

      6. @Al S Oops, thank you very much for catching that. Clearly my memory is failing, I got it wrong after reading the article less than 5 minutes before posting :)

        @RossB Good question. I expect that the numbers would come from the respective agencies and different agencies might report differently, so entirely possible that the numbers are not directly comparable. If I had to guess, they may or may not include capital expenses, they will definitely include operational expenses, and they will definitely not include societal benefits like what you alluded to in the previous comment.

        To editorialize on that last point a little… As I am sure you know, it is in general hard to measure what I might call “stochastic benefit”, just as it is in general hard to quantify “stochastic cost” due to decisions made by corporations to “pocket profits and spread the costs”. In general, our society is bad at quantifying those sorts of indirect effects – to be sure, in great part due to the nature of the problem, but we’re often not really even trying. Not sure how to address it though. In the end I might fall back on one of @Mark Dublin’s favorite points and say that it needs to start with good (public school) education. So it is something that can be done only incrementally and over a period of multiple generations. I doubt we have this long (due to climate change, if nothing else).

  3. It will be 4 to 6 years before Metro service levels get back to 2019 levels (baring a huge infusion of federal cash). Longer if Metro insists on continuing this foolishness about operating fare free.

    By then the local transit picture will be transformed. We will have NG-Link, E-Link, and L-Link all in service, and maybe even FW-Link. Metro will serve more of a feeder role, and Metro will need to seriously rethink their route structure and service delivery plan.

    The world is changing. Thank gawd for ST Link expansion. It is about the only bright spot left locally in transit.

    1. Except that Link is running only every half-hour. It might as well not exist at this point.

      I’m now opposed to all Link expansions until they issue a public apology. At every half-hour, it’s not worth the money spent on building the tracks.

      1. Except that Link is running only every half-hour.

        Link will be returning to 8-14 minute service on the 19th of September.

      2. Link is going to 8 minute headway’s on peak, while Metro is now proposing to cut back to 30 mins in some cases. And Link is more reliable.

        But it doesn’t matter if you are opposed or not. NG-Link, E-Link, L-Link, and FW-Link are all already approved, already funded, and all ready under construction. Oppose all you want, but the next 5 years will see a revolution in rail transit in this region.

        Metro? Not so much. They will contract.

      3. Metro? Not so much. They will contract.

        But William’s point is that ST has contracted as well. By the end of the month things will get better:

        Peak — 8 minutes
        Weekends and midday weekday– 15 minutes
        Evenings — 30 minutes

        But that is still much worse than before the pandemic:

        Peak — 6 minutes
        Weekends and midday weekday– 10 minutes
        Evenings — 15 minutes

        If Link was listed on the charts here, they would have red numbers across the board. This is a degradation. Oh, and the same is true for ST bus routes as well. Lots of red.

        Of course things might get better with the expansion. But the same could be said for Metro. Five years from now the pandemic should be a distant memory, as will the Trump presidency. By then Metro could have better funding, and much better service. But for now, both Metro and Link have cutbacks in service, and those will continue indefinitely.

        Note: It is pretty easy to look up the old schedule on the Wayback machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20191209040024/https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/schedule-link-light-rail.pdf. But it isn’t clear exactly what the schedule will be like at the end of this month. The report lists “evenings” but it isn’t clear if that means after 10 PM (what I would consider “night”): https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/changes-affect-my-ride/service-changes. I assumed that the timing was the same as the old schedule.

      4. @Rossb,

        Ah, but you completely misrepresent the situation. 6 min headway’s was not the near term ST plan. 6 min headway’s was a mitigation effort to work around certain operational, fleet utilization and demand restraints. The near term plan for Link was actually to drop back to 7.5 min headway’s once these issues were resolved.

        So for Link, moving to 7.5 min headway’s represents getting back to the pre-COVID plan. This is in comparison to Metro developing a cutting plan that allows them to stay close to solvent.

        Additionally, where with buses you can make the relatively rudimentary assumption that frequency equals service, with Link no such simplistic relationship exists. Service can actually be increased at reduced frequency simply by extending train lengths. Ya, we all like frequency, but what really is the on-ground impact of 7.5 min headways vs 6 min? Not much I’d say.

        As far as the transit picture 5 years out, NG-Link, E-Link, and L-Link will all be open. Link will have. Ore than doubled its service. This will be a game changer.

        Metro? Barring mana from the Federal heavens, Metro will most likely still be operating at less than 2019 levels.

      5. Except, @Lazarus, 7.5 minutes was the previous plan for Link south of International District. North of ID/Chinatown, we plan to eventually have two lines combining to provide four-minute service. And pre-COVID, we needed at least six minutes.

      6. @William c,

        Yes, Central Link will be going 7.5 min headways. It will operate at that level for about 2 years.

        When E-Link opens it will also be at 7.5. In headways. The result will be 3:45 headways on the part of the line where the two lines are interlined.

        3:45 headways will be a game changer locally. I can’t wait.

        Note: eventual plans to move both lines to 6 min headways with 3. In headways on the interlined segment are just discussion topics at this point. There is no firm plan to do such a thing.

      7. Additionally, where with buses you can make the relatively rudimentary assumption that frequency equals service, with Link no such simplistic relationship exists. Service can actually be increased at reduced frequency simply by extending train lengths.

        Wait, what?!! That is ridiculous. Holy cow, you are coming up with a ridiculous definition of service. A train that runs faster is better than one that runs slower. A train that runs more often is better than one that doesn’t. No one cares how long the train is. That’s absurd.

        Holy cow, the focus on this entire article is about frequency. When someone writes about “service”, that is what they are talking about. That is what why there is a picture of a big axe. In his comment down below, David writes that the 65 (along with other buses) is being cut “severely”. Would it make sense then, to say “It’s not really a cut — since they will be running bigger buses”? That is ridiculous.

      8. 6 min headway’s was a mitigation effort to work around certain operational, fleet utilization and demand restraints. The near term plan for Link was actually to drop back to 7.5 min headway’s once these issues were resolved.

        So you are saying that Link had better service because of other problems. Those are my kind of problems. I hope they have similar problems in the future.

        Oh, and you completely ignored the biggest cuts in service for Link, which exist outside of peak. From 10 minutes to 15, and from 15 to 30. Those make a big difference. Hopefully they will find some problems so they can go back to the old frequencies.

        Sorry for the snark, but you are missing the point. Link service has been cut, and it has been cut for the exact same reason that Metro service has: money. Yes, without a doubt it will be great when Link finally — finally — gets to the U-District (along with Northgate and Bellevue). Yes, those are game changers. But if you are in Beacon Hill or Rainier Valley, that is cold comfort if the train that used to run frequently doesn’t anymore. To assume that they will all return to the old levels requires the same sort of funding assumptions that you are reluctant to make for Metro. You don’t think that Metro will have the funds five years from now to match 2019 frequency levels. What makes you think that Sound Transit will?

      9. Capacity can be increased by making trains longer while keeping frequency the same. This can cost less than increasing frequency to the same capacity level. If you decrease frequency, that throws all these calculations off, and we’d need to know what the frequency is going from and to in order to gauge how much of an impact it would have.

        Service depends on what you’re measuring: capacity, actual ridership, or availability. People use transit if it’s convenient, reliable, safe, and competitively fast with driving. Of these, “convenient” is the one that’s relevant to this issue. Transit is convenient if it comes every 15 minutes in most areas; every 5-10 minutes dense areas like the U-District, Capitol/First Hill, Ballard, and Rainier Valley; and every 30 minutes for long commuter rail like Sounder South. That way people don’t have to work around a schedule, wait too long, or have horrible multi-seat rides. They don’t have these limitations when driving! The result is bad service, even if the trains are long and can fit everybody. Long waits are the single biggest thing riders hate after a baseline of safety and reliability is reached.

        Another issue is availability. Even if you don’t need a bus today, or if the 15-minute buses are only at 25% or 50% capacity, the fact that they’re there every day means they’ll be there when you need them. The benefit is not only being able to use a bus at all, but not having to wait a long time for it. This makes users more satisfied and allows them to accomplish more errands in a day. In aggregate it helps the city’s economy, because when people can go where they want when they want, they do their optimal amount of work, shopping, cultural activities, wellness activities and medical appointments, see other people, and take care of their families. And they’re doing it in an environmentally-sustainable way. Those positively impact a lot of the metrics for a healthy city/county/economy.

    2. If the last recession is a clue, 4-6 years to get full service back is about right. Even that would be conditional on the remaining 0.05% passing in 2024; otherwise, you can’t get back to full service with less than full revenue.

      This is the underbelly of relying on transit – your mobility rises and falls on a month to month basis with the economy, in contrast to the roads, which are always there, no matter what.

      This is one reason why I believe it’s important that, when living car-free, to choose a place to live such that you’re not wholly reliant on transit, but, instead, have transit be just one mobility option, supplemented by walking, riding a bicycle, renting cars, etc. In some cases, simply being willing to walk a little bit farther or a little bit faster can go a long way. And, buying an electric bike can open up huge swaths of the city for quick access, for much less than the cost of a car (or repeated renting of Jump bikes).

      While car purchases are often the knee-jerk reaction to transit cuts, cars are not becoming any cheaper and, even if Tim Eyman wins in court, the impact will be negligible compared to all the other costs associated with car ownership. It is not something to rush into. If nothing, think of every month a car purchase is postponed as another ~$500 saved. It adds up fast.

      1. ” … choose a place to live such that you’re not wholly reliant on transit, but, instead, have transit be just one mobility option, supplemented by walking, riding a bicycle, renting cars, etc.”

        This is living a sustainable lifestyle. It’s what people who care about climate change do. Do I consider myself a hero? Yes, I do.

      2. It’s really gotta be nice to be able to choose where you live, and not just have to go with wherever you can afford to.

        Most people don’t have that luxury.

    3. It is quite likely that their will be wide-spread immunization for Covid by the end of 2021, if not sooner. Based on what I’ve read, I expect at least one vaccine by Spring of next year. That has been the estimate for quite some time, and everything appears on schedule. Within six months after that, the average person should be vaccinated.

      So that leaves the recession. A lot depends on who is in the White House and the Senate. If Biden wins, then he will follow the (economic) science, and propose massive spending. If the Senate is controlled by the Democrats, they will follow suit. No matter what the Senate looks like, it is quite possible that they will reach some sort of agreement that involves a fairly quick infusion of cash, and thus a short lived, “V” shaped recession.

      I would also expect more money for transit, as part of the “Green New Deal”. Money for bus service would be a huge step forward, both politically and practically. There are only a handful of places where investing in rail infrastructure (or transit structure of any kind) will pay big dividends. Those places are already heavily democratic. A non-partisan objective panel (similar to the one used for military base closures) would likely show that the best value is to spend most of the money on New York City, with cities like Chicago, L. A. and San Fransisco making up the bulk of the rest. This wins you no votes. In contrast, not only is it very cost effective to spend a bunch of money on bus service, it is especially helpful in areas that are don’t normally vote Democratic. A major transit infrastructure bill — with hundreds of billions spend on rail — would do nothing for Yakima or Shoreline. But doubling funding for Yakima or Metro transit would make a huge difference to those cities. Now consider that most of the country lives in small cities and suburbs — places like Yakima and Shoreline. Large swing states, like Ohio, consist of pretty much only that. Yes, in some cases you could invest in large scale rail infrastructure there — but only a tiny segment of the population would benefit. In contrast, improving bus service would benefit just about everyone (and as is the case in Seattle, even in cities that are making massive investment in rail). Thus it is quite possible that Biden will propose massive spending for bus service, and it would be widely popular.

      But of course, Trump could win reelection. There would be more spending, but as a second term president, and with a Republican Party that rejects conventional economic theory (deficit spending when times are bad, balanced budget when times are good) the party might only recommend tax cuts, or worse — just hope that the problem goes away. It will, eventually (as the last recession did) but that would take years. There would be little to no money for anything “green”, as Trump would focus on rolling back all environmental progress made since before Nixon, while denying that global warming exists.

      Locally, it is likely we will weather the storm (or ride the recovery) much better than most of the country. We are a major tech center, and those jobs aren’t going away. People will return to working downtown, but a lot depends on what happens in November.

      1. What’s howlingly missing in this whole discussion, especially inexcusable for my own political side, is the amount of employment at all levels that could be generated by exactly the transit system that our region has been needing for so long.

        Especially if, from the wheels up, we manufacture and not just assemble, our own trains and buses. Ask any five year old, especially if they’re autistic, if they’d rather spend their lives building trains or algorithms.

        Mark Dublin

      2. If Biden wins and the dems don’t take the Senate, little to no spending will occur as the republicans will try to strangle his presidency until they can get a shot in 2024.

        If Trump wins, massive spending in the military and massive tax cuts, assuming the Senate stays republican majority–good economic times or bad. That’s how they roll.

        Money for local/regional transit infrastructure if Biden wins, but if Trump wins, little to none.

      3. In other words, if Biden wins and the Senate doesn’t fillibuster it, Seattle’s transit may become more like Chicago’s, although not all the way. If Trump wins and the Senate blocks all transit grants and keeps the gas tax below inflation, Seattle’s transit may look more like 2010 or 1984 or suburban Atlanta or Saudi Arabia.

      4. Even if Biden wins and Democrats take the Senate, you can be rest assured that Mitch McConnell will launch a filibuster campaign on virtually all substantive bills, like we’ve never seen before. It’s still not a given that transit will see much.

        If we’re extremely lucky, we get another $25 billion, spread across the entire nation, with it all running out in a few months. New York City will probably be ahead of Seattle in line for what funds are available, as their situation is much more dire in terms of sheer number of people impacted.

      5. It’s almost like progressive cities and states would be better off if they weren’t dependent on Federal largesse and raised their own taxes & debt rather than insisting all of America must agree with them before tackling supposedly emergency issues like climate change….

      6. FWIW, I don’t believe either party has ever followed, or is likely to follow, “spend in bad times, save up in good times” economics. One legitimate criticism of Dem leadership is they tend to forget about the “less spending and stimulus during good times” part. It’s just too tempting to spend more when more tax revenue is coming in during good times. Hence, massive cuts when things inevitably go South.

      7. “It’s almost like progressive cities and states would be better off if they weren’t dependent on Federal largesse and raised their own taxes & debt rather than insisting all of America must agree with them before tackling supposedly emergency issues like climate change….”

        I agree. Unfortunately, they federal government is the entity that can borrow trillions of dollars cheaply – progressive states and cities can’t.

        @MikeOrr As much as I would love to see Mitch McConnell lose his seat, the realist in me says it’s Kentucky and that it’s probably wishful thinking. I’m placing better hopes in Senate races like Colorado and Maine, where the electorate is less conservative. I could be wrong – three years ago, I didn’t think Doug Jones stood a chance in Alabama, either.

      8. Clinton cleaned up Reagan/Bush I’s mess, Obama cleaned up Bush II’s mess, and Biden will have to clean up Trump’s mess.

        Clinton left a budget SURPLUS. The debt was on track to evaporate entirely. Wall Street actually panicked and begged the government to maintain a trickle of debt, so that there would be a safe last-resort investment and they could continue getting something for nothing (i.e., bond interest from taxpayers/the Fed).

        Bush I and Fed chair Greenspan set the stage for the 2008 crash. After the dotcom recession in 2000, by 2003 the economy was recovering. Greenspan held interest rates at recession level to help the “economy”, and Bush promoted it to improve his reeleetion chances. This created the real-estate bubble. It was exacerbated by new investment types like collateralzed debt obligations (mortgages bundled up in securities), the misleadingly high ratings they got as “safe” investments. even more-complex investment types that nobody understood, liar loans, and circular mortgages where a group of people would buy the same property from each other repeatedly at ever-increasing prices to inflate the prices neighboring properties. There was probably a tax cut or two that I’ve forgotten.

        Trump has, I can’t even begin to articulate it properly. His policies are contradictory, he persecutes social groups and states he doesn’t like or didn’t vote for him, supported the biggest tax cut in history (which did nothing for the economy or people who are cost-burdened), opposes or never gets around to implementing plans to fix the infrastructure and the environment, is in denial about the worst pandemic in a century and says it’s not his responsibility, goes along with Republicans’ welfare-for-the-rich policies most of the time, breaks trade deals and treaties just for the hell of it, hinders our democratic allies and cozies up to dictators, is profiteering from his position, and is trying to turn the US into an authoritatian state like Hungary or Russia. 2020 may be the last election or the last fair election, if it even is. And I never had to worry about that in my lifetime until now.

        I believe the long-term picture is that liberals/progressives were flying high in the 1960s and 70s, but then they got slammed by Reagan’s election, the Vietnam catastrophe, and the backlash against civil rights and the rights of non-Christians and Kenseyan economics, the stagflation of the 70s, and a rising libertarian/individualist ideology. Liberals got scared and began promoting conservatism-lite. That lasted through the 1990s and 200s and 2010s, especially with the Gingrich wave in Congress in the 90s and Clinton’s neoliberal personality, and only broke after 2017. It remains to be seen how much it’s back to its old confidence now.

        In our own state, tax-revolt sentiment grew in the 1990s after California’s Prop 13 and Reagan’s ascendancy. It culminated in the Eyman initiatives that capped state and local taxes (some below inflation), required public votes on things that previously didn’t, and limited levies in both size and duration (so they would have to be revoted every 5-10 years like the TBD). Several of these were ruled unconstitutional by the courts, but in the most infamous case the legislature enacted its provisions anyway. That’s because they were scared of tax-adverse voters voting them out of office if they didn’t. It’s debatable how much of a real threat that was, but they believed it. In the mid 2000s the state and cities started pulling back and supporting sensible tax increases, and some Eyman initiatives started losing. That was the golden era of 2015-2019, when several Metro and ST expansions were approved and some bike lanes were built.

      9. Democrats are better on transit and urban issues than Republicans but they still aren’t great on it. They still aren’t adequately funding or giving cities enough autonomy to fully implement local transit, inter-county connectors, high-capacity transit, or the statewide rail corridors’ potential. They’re prioritizing SOVs too highly, and the environmental review process is biased toward the skewed status quo. (E.g., Link through Mercer Slough is a negative impact while I-90 is not, adding trolley wires for a bus route is a negative impact.) If they were great on transit they’d be doing what Canada, France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Estonia, Russia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Brazil, and Colombia are doing.

      10. I agree, although I tend to think of it mostly as politicians representing their constituents.

        Fundamentally, we have a chicken and egg problem. Transit riders do not make up enough of the voting population for politicians to take their interests seriously => so funding is subpar => so service sucks => so not enough people ride to have enough political power to matter. And the cycle repeats.

        On a city level, things are better than this. But, statewide, most of the population (and legislative districts) is either rural or suburban, so it’s much harder.

      11. FWIW, I don’t believe either party has ever followed, or is likely to follow, “spend in bad times, save up in good times” economics.

        I disagree. Clinton ran a surplus, and had the support of the Democratic Party while doing it. Obama was elected during a major recession, and spent a lot of money. Not as much as he should have, but he figured he could always spend more later. But when he tried, Republicans held the House and Senate, and it was too late. Modern Republicans (since Reagan) have largely ignored this approach, believing in magical thinking (i. e. Reaganomics)*. Good times or bad, they want tax cuts. But Democrats (since Jimmy Carter, really) have taken the appropriate course (more or less).

        Biden (if elected) will inherit a major recession (if not a depression). It makes sense for him to spend and spend big. The House will support him enthusiastically. It is possible the Senate will put up road blocks. Worth noting: the filibuster is a political construct — it is not in the constitution and doesn’t apply to every bill. What I’m suggesting would be a budget item. From Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster_in_the_United_States_Senate):

        Budget reconciliation is a procedure created in 1974 as part of the congressional budget process. In brief, the annual budget process begins with adoption of a budget resolution (passed by simple majority in each house, not signed by President, does not carry force of law) that sets overall funding levels for the government. The Senate may then consider a budget reconciliation bill, not subject to filibuster, that reconciles funding amounts in any annual appropriations bills with the amounts specified in the budget resolution

        Thus the House and Biden could come up with a spending bill that includes a lot of money for bus service, and the Senate could pass it with a simple majority. Even if the Republicans hold the Senate, I think additional bus service (along with a few other things) are highly likely to pass for the reasons mentioned. If Gardner, for example, retains his seat, and gives the majority to the Republicans, he could still vote for extra bus service, knowing full well that some of it would go to Colorado. There are plenty of things in the Green New Deal — such as high speed rail — that are bound to be controversial. Either it only serves a handful of (urban) places or it is way too large, and would actually be worse for the environment. That means it would likely get opposition from both sides. The same is true for investing in mass transit (big subways). But buses — built in America — would mean lots more American drivers in every town and city across the country. It is clear that Biden can sell that — I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the few things that survives (others being improving the electrical grid, more clean energy sources, electrification of the freight and passenger rail system, and small improvements to Amtrak).

        * That being said, even Trump and the Republican Senate did the right thing with the first stimulus.

  4. This is criminal, and our elected officials in Seattle should be held accountable for failing to extend the full TBD. The loss of the 10-minute network is such a huge loss, there are no words.

  5. At some point Metro is going to need to change its messaging. Right now, I’m not riding because the messaging is clearly “essential trips only”, and I have a car and an e-bike, so I’m leaving the bus for those who need it. There have been a few studies that show transit is generally safe if everyone wears masks. The offices that are actively discouraging transit ridership- I have a friend who works for an office who’s policy actually says they CAN’T ride the bus and come into the office- aren’t helping.

    1. All of the buses around me say “masks required” on the front and Metro’s Twitter account and text messages have long since removed the “essential trips only” messaging. There may be some static signs that still say that but they’re not nearly as prevalent as they used to be.

      I’ve also noticed near-100% mask compliance on my trips and the people who don’t have one on properly (usually around their chins or with their noses hanging out) get the message pretty quickly when they board and the rest of us are all masked up in the right way.

      Meanwhile, my employer and a few others I know have been saying that transit is safe if we do use it to commute to the office, though we are still almost entirely working from home. My employer’s “going to the office” FAQ specifically says: “Q. What about public transit? May I ride it to work? Is it safe? A. Public transit has no particular restrictions or safety differences. Follow the guidance and rules of regional transit agencies when riding.”

      1. Good! Hopefully most offices are following the same guidelines as yours. Looks like I’m late on the removal of the “essential trips” headsign, looking forward to riding again!

      2. All of the buses near me still say Essential Trips only, and I need to ride one every day. It is a little insulting to be shamed 6 months into the pandemic when the city hasn’t provided any other options for transit riders.

      3. I don’t necessarily believe the general public is aware of this messaging change. And I still see buses out there with the “essential” signs. So…not sure.

    2. Julie, last piece of “messaging” I heard in person from Sound Transit northbound out of Pioneer Square Station told me my train’s next stop would be Angle Lake followed by Sea-Tac. Luckily, my destination, the wonderful old University Inn still had a few months left to live.

      So rather than depreciate your car, your insurance, and your fuel-related bank account by driving, just accept that whose-ever job is to “cancel” that stupid “Essential” message is either early-retired or on sick call. And imagine your grand-kids saying: “Oh, grandma, you are soooo Essentially Phase 3 you prob’ly voted for INSLEE!”

      But Lazarus, tell me one thing. If fares are so fiscally mandatory, couldn’t we put Link on platinum rails with the proceeds of the gated farebox on the door of every single motorist’s garage? Or does that just make it too easy for homeless people to drive?

      But most important of all, since Thor himself has already got the contract for Ballard Station, including the cable people-mover to the Nordic Museum, best we speak respectfully of the Troll Folk.

      While Norway’s highway department can’t go on record, their budget takes a major hit every time a troll galumphing along a crestline gets so preoccupied with his new gold watch that when sunrise turns him into a plummeting rock….well, traffic gets worse than I-90 over Snoqualmie.

      And for any employer enforcing the prohibition you mention- any chance they’ll be looking at some wrongful termination litigation, at the time they can least afford the customers they stand to lose when this goes public and also online? Just askin’.

      Mark Dublin

    3. Metro has been changing the signs one bus at a time from “Essential trips only” to “Masks required”. Around 65% of the buses downtown are converted.

    4. Somebody please sue a company that is mandating that employees NOT ride the bus. Employers don’t have that legal power over employees! Allowing employers to do this sets a bad precedent when it comes to workers’ freedoms. (OTOH, providing free parking is a choice that employers do legitimately have–they either own the garage/lot or make a deal with whoever does own it).

  6. Yes, the reductions are extensive. Note that several two-way all-day routes serving hospitals and essential workers are being reduced (e.g. routes 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 44, 45, and 345).

    There may be additional federal assistance in 2021. The 2021 legislature may improve the TBD enabling legislation or empower transit agencies more.

    1. Note that several two-way all-day routes serving hospitals and essential workers are being reduced (e.g. routes 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 44, 45, and 345).

      I noticed that as well. Buses that specifically serve First Hill (e. g. Pill Hill) like the 63 have been axed. I get it. These perform poorly. Still sucks though.

      There may be additional federal assistance in 2021. The 2021 legislature may improve the TBD enabling legislation or empower transit agencies more.

      Yeah, it is quite possible things will look a lot better at the end of 2021 than they do at the beginning.

  7. What is the second axe swing in September? Routes like the 5X, 9, 15, 17, etc? They are already cut. So, how can you say they are about to be cut? Or, are you making a distinction between the wording suspended and cut?

    1. It is two swings. It took me a minute to realize what David was referring to.

      The TBD is reducing spending by 50% to stretch the money till the March service change. If the TBD renewal passes it will raise an 0.15% if I remember, less than the current TBD. That would allow Metro to restore some Seattle service January-March when it starts, but probably not much. As a rough guess, maybe half of the Seattle cuts can be restored? Seattle/Metro haven’t made it clear.

      In March, if the TBD fails, all TBD-funded service will expire. This will return us to the equivalent of half-hourly evenings on the 5, 8, 10, 41, and 49; hourly evenings on the 40 and 120; and half-hourly Saturdays on the 11. Those are just the routes I’m most familiar with. That would be a return to the bad old 2010s network before RapidRide C, D, and E. Some of these half-hourly evenings will return this month, and hourly service will return to Seattle. If the TBD passes, some of these cuts will be forestalled, but again Seattle/Metro hasn’t made clear what the frequency will be.

      Northgate Link and the North Seattle restructure are expected next September. This will improve things significantly, as it will be easy to get from Capitol Hill to the U-District, Roosevelt, and Northgate, and from there to Snohomish County on more frequent feeders. It will free up bus hours from the 74X, 76X, etc to go into more North Seattle service. Metro is on its first or second round of proposals about that, and will probably release the final proposal later this year or in January, and the county council vote on it by April. So that will bring some level of improvements. Less than in the last proposal, and again it’s unclear what the frequency estimates are now.

      East Link is scheduled for 2023, Lynnwood and Federal Way Link in 2024 (but may slip), and RapidRide G (Madison) in 2024. East Seattle’s restructure is waiting for the G. Among Metro’s plans are to reroute the 8 to Rainier Beach, combine the 2/11/49 into a 2 on Pine-12th-Union, replace the 49’s Broadway segment with a north-south route from the U-District to Beacon Hill on Broadway-John-12th, etc. All these are preliminary concepts. Lesser funding would mean these may not be full-time frequent.

  8. King County just released its strategic climate action plan, which calls for 61 million additional annual transit boardings by 2025 (relative to 2019 baseline). I’m not quite sure why so much effort was invested in drawing up a climate plan that will be yet another failure. I would like to see some numbers showing how these cuts will affect those climate goals.

    1. I don’t see how King County can reach its climate goals without funding Metro Connects 100% and more. Currently it’s behind track, and there’s a vague promise of maybe a ballot measure in 2024. That will probably be less than 100%, and has a good chance of failing judging from the last two countywide transit measures.

      1. There’s no possible way they can reach the goals they just set, which is why I do not understand why they set them, or at least why they didn’t raise more concerns or do an assessment showing the gap between reality and these ideals.

        Is the plan to simply move the goalposts again in 2025?

  9. And if they tell their employer, “I walked to work”…..are they lying if the nearest Link station or bus stop is where they walked FROM?

    Mark Dublin

  10. I like to take the long view of service cutbacks. Service hours grow and shrink due to funding. The dilemma is figuring out how to “make music” with this budgetary accordion of expansion and contraction and not have it be too severe. (On a route by route basis, this looks big but not horrific. I’m not sure where the “severe” line is.)

    I view this as the forced time to test a “base level of service”. It gives Metro a chance to then assess how good all those extra hours did in serving our community for a few years. Crowding issues — heightened in scrutiny by COVID-19 — will hopefully be a big factor in restoring service beyond this where it’s needed on a route by route basis.

    It’s also going to make the riding public be more participatory in upcoming restructures triggered by Link openings. For example, Metro could be asking a rider if it’s better to have a one-seat ride to Downtown every 30 minutes or a two-seat bus/ rail ride every 10 or 15 minutes when faced with their current 15-20 minute one-seat route. It will be an interesting year to monitor ridership and feedback.

    1. The problem is that the less frequent the service, the more painful the transfer. A grid system with hour headways is ridiculous. On the other hand, a hub and spoke system with hour headways is fairly common. People headed to that main hub (what we can assume is the biggest destination) at least can time that trip. In contrast, a grid system — or to be more broad, a system that depends on transfers — needs good frequency to work properly. What that frequency depends on the person (2 minutes, 6 minutes, 10, 15?) but the “cost” of the transfer is highly dependent on the frequency.

    2. If I had to draw a line somewhere, I’d put the cuts to these routes in the “severe” category:

      5
      10
      11
      27
      44
      48
      49
      65
      67
      70
      74
      255
      Virtually all of the peak-only service

      The cuts to all of the above routes will fundamentally transform their usefulness to riders at one or more times of day.

      1. David, are you really talking about Seattle taking its former transit system back from King County, and Ballard repealing its annexation to Seattle?

        I’m also curious why it would take any time at all to change a message, either external coach signage or PA? What’s it been, thirty years since the last “roller-sign?”

        Mark Dublin

      2. Losing the TBD is the opposite of taking back bus service from Metro. The TBD is reducing its spending in September by 50% so that the money can last until the March service change rather than running out at the end of the year. This gives time for the renewal to pass in November and be in place by March.

        I’m indifferent to whether Seattle has a Seattle-only transit agency. There are tradeoffs both ways. Everett is worse off for not being in Community Transit. San Francisco, New York, and Chicago have excellent city-only transit networks, but their cities have a larger number of destinations within that boundary, things we have to go to the suburbs for. There are more walkable places to live in those cities, so it’s easier to live somewhere in the city and not in the suburbs. Jarrett Walker has written about the tradeoff between municipal bus networks that offer more integration within the city but are fragmented at city boundaries, vs county/regional networks that are more integrated overall but maybe meet the city’s needs less. We need a good total network that balances these needs, so maybe withdrawing from Metro is a side distraction. The TBD allows us to have additional city-only service where we want it, and suburban cities can choose to do likewise if they want. But the countywide baseline gives us seamless integrated travel throughout the county, a single fare structure, and doesn’t leave cities behind who can’t/won’t pay for additional service.

      3. I’m seeing several routes here that carry a high proportion of university students. As long as classes aren’t being held, it seems reasonable to cut those services. The same is true with white collar Downtown employees who are now working from home. Meanwhile, other key routes are more essential for residents to get to work as well as other places.

        It may look like Capitol Hill is hurt badly, but there’s a lot more to walk to locally there than in a place like Lake City or Hillman City.

      4. Capitol Hill will still have light rail to offset metro bus cuts, which will enable broad city and regional transportation. It would still be in a much better position for transit than other neighborhoods, e.g., West Seattle, South Park.

      5. The 255 cut concerns me because it was already overcrowded, and then got restructured with the intent to have *frequent transfers* to Link so that people could get downtown. Now, the frequencies are roughly back down to what they were pre restructure. Now thats gone and it feels like everyone lost out.

    3. “I like to take the long view of service cutbacks.”

      That doesn’t help people who need transit now, not maybe in five years. I used to commute on the 305 (66) from the U-District to Licton Springs west of Northgate. There were some other marginal options on the 16X and 48 (45). Metro’s frequency and speed directly affected this. The lack of Link affected it. (Actually not Link because I was starting from 55th, but at other times I’ve wished I could take rapid transit to places like Northgate.) If bus improvements are delayed for a decade, some people will have spent their entire working lives without it, and when it finally comes they’ll be dead or in a nursing home.

      Service hours grow and shrink due to funding. The dilemma is figuring out how to “make music” with this budgetary accordion of expansion and contraction and not have it be too severe. (On a route by route basis, this looks big but not horrific. I’m not sure where the “severe” line is.)

      I view this as the forced time to test a “base level of service”. It gives Metro a chance to then assess how good all those extra hours did in serving our community for a few years. Crowding issues — heightened in scrutiny by COVID-19 — will hopefully be a big factor in restoring service beyond this where it’s needed on a route by route basis.

      It’s also going to make the riding public be more participatory in upcoming restructures triggered by Link openings. For example, Metro could be asking a rider if it’s better to have a one-seat ride to Downtown every 30 minutes or a two-seat bus/ rail ride every 10 or 15 minutes when faced with their current 15-20 minute one-seat route. It will be an interesting year to monitor ridership and feedback.

      1. To be fair, there is always a balance between taking the long view (build large infrastructure improvements that very likely some of us here on the blog will not see the end of) and taking the very short view (throw all that money into service now). If we look at the overall pool of transit money the Puget Sound is paying, those infrastructure improvements could pay for a lot of bus service today. But of course that is not considered a good idea in the long run, and generally with good reason.

        The infrastructure thing is not academic, though. Long enough projects really do end up making different people pay for the “cost” (not necessarily financial) than reap “rewards”. For example, I lived through all the construction annoyances of the U Link and Northgate Link projects but moved before making use of them. Can I use them once they start? Certainly, and probably will, but the cost to me, personally, was higher than the reward I will get (again, not talking financial cost). So what we have to hope for is that enough such projects happen everywhere that people overall benefit regardless of where life takes them.

        Not sure where I am going with this train of thought – it got stuck in one of the tunnels :) So mostly just musing, I guess.

      2. @AM
        Well, I for one enjoyed your musing nevertheless. I can totally relate to your central point regarding the generational nature of these types of transit improvements. I moved to Seattle from New York back in the late 80s and relied solely on transit for getting to work and mostly on transit for getting around otherwise, as I was committed to living without the expense of a car. I lived that way (i.e., carless) in the CD for half a dozen years before moving to Wallingford (to get away from the gang and crack-fueled criminal activity that plagued my neighborhood during those days) and then lived there for a decade plus before moving north to SW SnoCo when I purchased a home there. At that point, my job was still located in Seattle so I puchased a vehicle as the transit options were just too time-consuming and didn’t really fit my work schedule. But the whole time period between the late 80s, thru the 90s and into the early 00s I took transit and waited patiently for improvements to be made via light rail infrastructure and Metro frequency increases.

        By the time I moved to SnoCo, Link had yet to open its first segment and only modest improvements had been made to local bus services in Seattle by then. My work commutes always involved a two-seat ride and those transfers were frequently frustrating, whether it was the 48 northward to the 271 to Bellevue TC (when I lived in the CD in worked in DT Bellevue) or the 26 southward to DT Seattle to the 120 to Delridge/West Seattle (when I lived in Wallingford), to give just a couple of examples of my work commutes via transit during those years.

        Thankfully when I lived in Wallingford I could walk or bike to a lot of the places I wanted to get to, but I still remember those days of long waits to catch a bus to downtown or Capitol Hill outside of the peak hours and wondering if I would ever see improvements before my retirement days. So, yeah, I totally hear what you’re saying in your comment above, as I too have been paying into these longer-term transit improvements for over a couple of decades now (ST’s Link and STX since day one and CT’s bus services since moving to SnoCo) though I personally have gotten little use from them to date. Trust me when I tell you that there were so many times I cursed to myself while standing at a bus stop in the dark, in the cold and wet, wondering when the next bus was actually going to come by and why aren’t we committing more funding to improving things right now. I think by the time I decided to move north my patience had just run out.

        With all of that said, I don’t think the service cuts discussed here are all that terrible. They are certainly a step back from the 2019 status quo to be sure, but far from being disastrous.

  11. Apologies, Mike. My point was to stress the level of damage that would result from cutting back the exact routes David listed. Transit advocacy frowns on suicide notes.

    In addition to being the only way I can still participate in the transit endeavor that’s been such a major part of my life, I really do believe that regional inclusion, in a manner both non-ideological and practical, will deliver the most transit at the least cost for every passenger involved.

    And also Ballard, West Seattle, Everett, North Bend, and the John L. O’Brien sundial at the top of the escalator to the Electrosounder Station in the basement of the Dome. Won’t budge, however, on Special Needs ORCA passes for the employees I elect. When they grow up, we’ll be paid back.

    Mark Dublin

  12. At first I was really worried that this cutback was the first of two (this one driven by sales tax decline and lack of fare revenue, and the second driven by the TBD expiration), but I missed the subtlety that the TBD is cutting back revenue now to bridge the gap to new revenue after a hopeful (but reduced) renewal. As Al S notes, these are bad cuts but not severe and if this is as bad as it gets, hopefully a rebound + federal money + restructures around Link can keep transit usable, if not as usable as before.

    Living in Wallingford, the cuts aren’t as severe as I was expecting. The worst will obviously be the reduced service on the 44, but frankly I was expecting a return to 30 minute evening and daytime weekend service on both the 44 and the 62. The most perplexing cut is the loss of Saturday service on the 31, but hopefully that will return as soon as UW has students on campus again. I would have actually preferred the 32 to lose weekend service and run the 31 on Sundays as well, since it overlaps completely with the 31 and the D, and I would (selfishly) prefer a one-seat ride close to Discovery Park on the weekends. That trip is now complicated by the closure of the Ballard Locks to pedestrians, which removes the 44 as an option.

    On the topic of revenue, does anyone have an idea of when Metro might actually start charging fares again? I’ve been hoping that next month will be it for three months now.

    1. Metro is reopening its pass-sales storefront this month, so fares may start October 1st, but I haven’t seen a definitive announcement of when.

    2. The complete loss of the 32 on Saturdays is a big blow. It means 30-minute service between Fremont and the U district. Metro has always been stingy about this corridor, as the 31 has never been given Sunday service.

      At least the Burke-Gilman trail exists as an alternative, for those with bikes.

      1. The 31 tail into Magnolia is long, results in long layovers, and is quite unproductive off-peak. Instead of canceling the 31 entirely I tend to think they should have created short-turn trips serving only the UW-Fremont segment. They could also improve reliability with short-turn 31 trips, by through-routing the short-turn 31 trips with the 75 and turning the full 32 trips around on the UW campus.

      2. That’s basically what I was about to suggest. I feel like Magnolia has been dragging down the level of Fremont->U district service for decades, and it shouldn’t have to be that way.

  13. Not to patronize, AM, but are you sure you’ve lived long enough to declare for certain that it’s too late to recoup any of your investment in that regionally-critical stretch of infrastructure?

    Or that somebody who rides those trains to class might not either invent or achieve something of equal or more value to you or your kids? Or in the world of either commerce or engineering, accomplish or fund anything anywhere on Earth that can in some form or other work its way back to you with intere$t?

    Including providing a career-founding job for you, say, helping to put the New York subways in floating tubes so future hurricanes never again drown anybody on-platform!

    Or maybe your firm will get the winning bid from El Paso’s PCC streetcar fleet to convert a really ugly wall into prize-winning One Percent For The Arts public…ART! And for stealing “Lynx” from our light-rail, Charlotte NC still owes us something furry that isn’t a marmot.

    Too bad “fun·gi·ble” looks so much like a mushroom. Because of how often goods contracted for without an individual specimen being specified are eventually able to replace or be replaced by another identical item.

    Like they say on CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) “Ya gotta be patient!”

    Mark Dublin

    1. Hi Mark, I don’t consider the question patronizing in the slightest :) It is definitely a meaningful question, and your points are in line with my own beliefs for myself. However, I think it is safe to say that for _some_ people that is not the case. So the point _I_ am trying to make is that we should balance these two things out – investment in the future and relief today. I think most of us here on the blog are generally in agreement on this, and disagree primarily in the specifics.

      I should take this opportunity also to thank you for your consistent focus on involving the youth in transit usage and advocacy. I really appreciate it, and I think the rest of us benefit a lot from your comments on that topic (as well as many others, of course).

      1. Thanks, AM. I’m with you 100% about the need for balance. Though from direct-est possible experience, I think a lot of conflict can be avoided by being sure that, literally minute by minute, transit workers have the knowledge, the skill, the machinery, and the PERMISSION to deliver maximum service.

        And from much longer and earlier experience: If it wasn’t so heart-warming, youth-friendliness would be public transit’s coldest, most selfishly-calculating path to real power, consumer-wise and political.

        Since voting age is same “18” as minimum age of electability, if ST knows what’s good for it, nobody had BETTER have to take their Oath of Office with a $124 summons in their pocket over a bad ORCA-tap with their Student card.

        But game starts a lot earlier. When sidewalks once again allow people, watch two-year-olds in strollers hear the bell downstairs and start demanding their train ride before they can talk. Trains could have an advantage. But especially under trolleywire, by real coach-handling, bus drivers can also make the grade.

        And least-known but possibly most important, by the cash machines at IDS and maybe some other places, elementary school students have already contributed to the Arts Project.

        Meaning there’s no reason community college students can’t also “learn as they serve” on real-life Computer-Numeric Control projects that move passengers. After 70 years of “Auto Shop”, time for a “Transit Shop” for a partner, no? And interesting thing general-ed.-wise: Machining relieves a lot of “math anxiety.”

        So much of what we need, AM, for ridership and resources, we’ve already got. But the fact we know our kids deserve the best could be our own strongest encouragement to make sure it includes the transit they so naturally love.

        Mark

  14. Though Metro recognized the need to preserve service in South King County, I’m kind of amazed at how lightly its service is touched in this service reduction, especially in comparison to other suburbs. Thinking back to my Highline (Community) College years, virtually every route I ever took (with the exception of the equivalent of the 166 having reduced evening frequency) has no changes at all.

    Another fascinating thing is the severe frequency cuts to route 255. Easy to miss, but it’s going from a 7-day frequent route to losing all midday frequent service. That seems like a betrayal, since riders were sold the frequency in exchange for truncating the route at UW. But for routes 101 and 150 (both routes that I think have a better case than the 255 for truncation at a Link station, Rainier Beach in this case)? They are getting no changes. They keep both a one-seat fast ride to downtown at all times, *and* maintain (respectively) 5 and 7 day frequent service. This seems backwards. Metro should probably preserve the frequency of a route whose riders took the hit and have to transfer, and make riders of the 150 and 101 (which could be truncated at RBS for tremendous service hour savings) have to decide whether frequent service or a one-seat ride is more important to them.

    1. Ridership data explain the difference. The 255 lost a far greater percentage of its ridership post-COVID than either the 101 or 150. On top of that, the remaining 255 ridership is much more peak-heavy than either 101 or 150 ridership.

      In general, the south end has retained much more ridership than other places, which explains Metro’s decisions. The single route that retained the highest percentage of pre-COVID ridership is the 180, and sure enough the high-ridership part of the 180 is one of only two routes that are gaining weekday frequency in this service change.

      1. That is the case, but I think a problem with that is that very short term ridership data can only get you so far. It’s great for planning immediate service cuts (like what happened). But for medium and longer term service planning, I think it’s important to consider whether ridership was meaningfully affected by Link running every 20-30 minutes (which intuitively seems like it would have to), and might not be a good measurement of actual demand.

        I’d also consider Link truncation to have a unique objective here. Discussions on Link truncation often revolve around getting people to their destination faster. For buses that already take the freeway downtown, this only really is faster when traffic is pretty bad, so that’s probably why this hasn’t happened on a broader scale. But in this case, you have Metro being more limited in the number of service hours it can operate (due to budget constraints), combined with the fact that now only 12 or 18 passengers can be on a bus at once (due to social distancing). As a result of this capacity squeeze, Metro needs to operate more capacity-efficiently in a way it hasn’t had to before. This means, assuming that Link has a lot of excess capacity in its trains (which isn’t a foregone conclusion, but I think is likely), now is not the time for Metro to waste capacity running buses parallel with Link for long distances when it could provide service to many more people (albeit with a slightly longer travel time) by having Link take over a significant share of the load.

      2. Additionally, all this relies on the fact that Sound Transit maintains frequent service on Link (which I think it will now). I also think that Link’s period of operating every 30 minutes (and then every 20 minutes) is its own betrayal, not just because you had to check the schedule before taking the train or even just because of the 255, but because it was built as the region’s most important transit route (having higher ridership than every ST Express bus combined). There were nearly a decade of bus restructures reliant on the assumption of frequent Link service, from the RV to Capitol Hill to Northeast Seattle to Kirkland (as well as influencing a large number of decisions on the margins). Severely reducing Link service affects all those areas at once, and it’s hard to imagine that this doesn’t have severe consequences on Link and ST’s reputation.

    2. I imagine all of the cuts are very driven by ridership data. While ridership in general is way down, capacity is also way down, so routes that haven’t had big drops in ridership are much closer to their capacity or even beyond. I haven’t ridden the 255 since its restructure/COVID started but I have been on campus a few times to see it drop off/pick up at Husky Stadium, and there simply aren’t many people on it. Maybe it will improve once Link recovers some frequency, though, so hopefully Metro is ready to add trips one a one-off basis in the same way that they were removed a few months ago.

    3. I live along the 255. However, I don’t think it’s particular fair to other areas to leave the 255 unscathed while the rest of the system is being gutted. Hopefully, Link will get back to 10 minute frequency relatively smooth, which will make the connections easier.

      Still, I do think there are ways that Metro could have cut better. The existing 255 has a lot of unnecessary padding and it’s possible that removing some of that could have saved a bus without reducing service. I was also surprised to see the 245 unscathed, and with Microsoft/etc. closed, hardly anybody is riding it anymore. So, perhaps reducing the 245 to 20 minutes to keep the 255 at 15 minutes would have been better, since the 245 is less reliant on connections in order to work.

    4. I wholeheartedly agree with you Alex.

      Regarding the data driven decisions, I don’t think there was time to assess how the 255 ridership changed. If I remember correctly, UW announced they were going online near the end of Winter Quarter on a Friday, effective the next Monday. I believe the Metro changes were supposed to be going into effect a week later. This was at the end of February/Early March, so it was when people were really quarantining and stocking up on food.

      That is to say, I don’t think the data accurately reflects what a non-COVID 255 would look like.

  15. Route 31 is gets cut; Route 32 remains.

    Yes, the reduction to Route 255 at off-peak times is severe. Note that routes 41, 101, 150, and 550 serve hubs where several local routes meet them. So, Routes 255, 249, 245, 250, 230, 231, 239, 930, and 225 are a network of routes; they also depend on Link. Will ST provide good off-peak frequency or be cheap? Each trunk route could get credit for that network impact. Yes, they each serve P&R, but most riders are walk or bus access. Relatively more Route 255 riders may working from home, while relatively more riders of routes 101 and 150 must go into work.

  16. One might think that the Republicans would want to fund transit, if for no other reason than to help their commuter rail/ express bus suburban voters. But apparently their ideology is now so all consuming that it swamps even aid to their own constituents

    1. Not to mention that transit, and infrastructure in general, create more jobs which is a) something they can tout and b) a really good tool to help us get out of the near certain depression we are about to enter.

    2. Sound Transit owes a lot, possibly including its very existence, to a lifetime Republican attorney named James. R. Ellis.

      Starting with the fact that, in addition to his constant advocacy and leadership, he bought us 1.3 miles of prime real estate right through the middle of Downtown Seattle in the middle of a building boom. Without having to condemn a single square inch.

      But given the party’s own actual history, I think it could be well within this oncoming generation’s inclinations and abilities to retrieve and rescue the Republican Party from the pro-slavery secessionist Democrats who captured it in 1994.

      The Confederates really did almost “get” Washington DC in 1864, but backed off when Lincoln’s Kentucky-born wife Mary started yelling for a rifle so she could shoot the Confederate commander, her cousin General John Breckenridge. Newt Gingrich just luckier as to timing and relatives.

      And return it to the condition it was in when it defeated these self-same people in what could be called either the LAST civil war or more appropriately, Round One. “Progressive” became theirs around 1900. When they also gave our country the Civil Service, denounced in their own day as giving literacy an unfair edge over loyal party support and contributions.

      But at their height, they proudly claimed the title not of “Moderate” or “Progressive, but Radical. And fervently supported the right to Keep and Bear Arms both in the Union Army, and, complete open-carry, aboard some really heavy-caliber weaponry called turret guns on battleships. To put it mildly, no problem with Fundamentalism either.

      “The Radicals were heavily influenced by religious ideals, and many were Christian reformers who saw slavery as evil and the Civil War as God’s punishment for slavery.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Republicans

      Look at the picture of Thaddeus Stevens, and see if you don’t think he’d be the perfect running mate for Kamala Harris. From the looks of the two of them, doubt their take on law and order would be any problem for a wide and fed-up variety of ordinary Americans of all ages.

      Mark Dublin

    3. “One might think that the Republicans would want to fund transit, if for no other reason than to help their commuter rail/ express bus suburban voters.”

      I haven’t seen any rigorous studies on this, but I guess that not many of the commuter rail/express riders are Republicans. The past few years, suburbs in general have been swinging towards the Democrats, with the trend largest in suburbs around the types of large cities most likely to have a commuter bus/rail system with non-trivial ridership. If you look at the precinct-level voting map from 2016 and juxtapose it over the station map for commuter rail to cities like New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc., you will see the bulk of the stations – even the far-out stations – in blue areas.

      Also, while I haven’t seen data to prove or disprove it, I would strongly expect that, even after controlling for one’s neighborhood of residence, those that regularly ride any kind of transit are far more likely to be Democrats than those that don’t. For instance, the South Hill neighborhood, as a whole, is generally Republican. But, I’d still be willing to bet that the (small) subset of South Hill residents who ride Sounder or ST Express for their daily commute (or did before COVID) are majority Democrat.

      As to why, I would expect it to be some combination of two reasons:
      1) Those in the exurbs in general who do ride public transit almost certainly work in their city’s downtown. That means being exposed everyday to co-workers and people on the street who are from difficult cultures and a lot more liberal than the average person back home. I would expect there to be some statistically measurable “rub-off” effect, just from that (which would apply even to those who drive to jobs downtown).

      2) The Republican philosophy is so against transit, along with any public service, that people who believe in it will tend to associate riding any form of transit with being a loser, no matter how good the service is. No matter how bad the traffic is, they’ll drive in it to avoid feeling like a loser, and if they can’t stand it, they’ll find another job with a shorter drive before resorting to the train. Those that are willing to at least consider riding the train have different attitudes, which are generally, much more compatible with the Democratic party.

      That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions. There’s enough people out there that they’re certainly are. But, I would assume that such exceptions are few and far between.

      1. There’s a theory that cities make people liberal. and I think it explains some of what’s happening in the US better than other theories. Cities are, by definition, places with a small amount of space per person, as Jarrett Walker says. That forces people to interact with people of different ethnicities, incomes, religions, and lifestyles than themselves. It causes traffic congestion which makes shared transit a more attractive option. And you can’t escape air pollution or water pollution so you have to clean it up.

        All the large cities are more liberal than their suburbs, and those in turn are more liberal than their surrounding rural areas. Austin is well known for being liberal, but even Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso are more liberal than the rest of Texas. (I don’t know the difference between liberal and progressive, so substitute progressive if you want to use the post-1990s term.) And now suburbs like Bellevue and Orange County have gone from red to blue, and suburban DC has become so large it’s turning Virginia blue, and Atlanta is turning Georgia into a swing state. This must be the urban effect because that’s the only thing they all have in common, and it’s happening as the suburbs get larger and more established.

      2. There is definitely a difference between moderate vs. progressive as you go outward. It was very prevalent in the early Biden vs. Sanders primary races, and we see it here in mayor/city council races. There’s a reason why most of the Seattle city council would never win election in Bellevue, in spite of both cities breaking strongly for the Democrats in partisan battles.

        It is also why transit funding measures stand a much better chance of passing with a Seattle-only electorate and why I’m scared of depending on a county-wide election to properly fund our bus system. As a gross simplification, anytime transit is up on the ballot, you get roughly 70% of Democrats in favor, joined by exactly 0% of Republicans. For a Seattle-only electorate, 70% of 85% = 59.5% = pass. For all of King County, the math looks more like 70% of 70% = 49% = too close to call, and the number probably looks worse if it’s an off-year election, rather than on a presidential ballot.

        Of course, this is based on 2016 numbers, and King County has shifted to the left since then (as evidenced by I-976 results), but I still don’t feel comfortable depending on that, as many of the suburbanites that recently joined the Democratic party are not pro-transit or progressive, but simply oppose Donald Trump. Throw in COVID reducing the public support for transit by a few percentage points across the board, at least for now, sticking to a Seattle only electorate was unquestionably the right and prudent thing to do.

      3. Yes, but if you look at what Sanders, Warren, Biden, Obama, and Buttegieg ultimately want and what they’d do if they had full power to enact it, they’re remarkably similar. People get hung up on whether one supports single-payer healthcare and another doesn’t; one prioritizes sentencing reform and laxer border policies more and another doesn’t; one endorses the Green New Deal and another doesn’t. But ultimately they all want a fair country that’s more supportive of working people and minorities, is environmentally responsible, etc, and they’d vote for and support policies that may not be their favorite but they go in the right direction and have a chance of passing. As Single-Payer Sanders said about Obamacare, “I wrote the damn bill.”

        And none of them get caught up in identity politics or the other toxic aspects of the far left. There’s a marked difference between Sanders and many of his supporters that gets lost in the media. And that difference reflects, on a different scale, the difference between Seattle and the inner-ring burbs. Seattle is more pro-active on transit funding and tenant protections, but it also has almost all of the far left. People who want to smash capitalism but don’t have an alternative that would work for everybody and be accepted by the majority, or are quick to tear things down but don’t realize it’s harder to build them up, and who view people in terms of social groups rather than individuals.

        Kshama Sawant I’d put into the far left category. While she’s somewhat more moderate and responsible in one-on-one interviews and council meetings than she is at the rally pulpit, she keeps stirring up far-left rhetoric and circulating narrow-minded petitions again and again that it’s ultimately to bad effect. Pramila Jayapal I thought was in the same category, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how responsible she’s been in the House. Maybe it’s because I see less of what she does since she’s thousands of miles away, but it’s ironic that Sawant endorsed her and was the catalyst to get her elected, so why can’t Sawant be more like Jayapal?

        I read some pundit saying Amazon is putting some eggs into Bellevue in case the entire Seattle council and mayorship become like Sawant, but that’s never going to happen. Sawant has over 50% approval in her district (which is my district), but that doesn’t mean several other districts will get to over 50% approval for somebody like that.

  17. As someone who is a bit of a visual learner, seeing Oran’s frequent transit map (http://seattletransitmap.com/) helped me learn all of the routes (and seattle neighborhoods) in the first place. I’d love to see an updated version or something similar to help visualize the scale of these cuts, because while a giant table is useful, it is hard to visualize everything at once.

  18. People find these posts not because they are fans of transit but because it’s listed as an article link in their local section of news sites such as news.google.com. I notice if they have an anti bus opinion then they get labeled a troll. Truth is the transit fan boys are the worst. There is a right of a lot of folks to be upset with the incessant taxing and enabling of metro inefficiency among the many sins of the city. And there are legitimate reasons to support metro as well. Try to see both sides. I don’t think the anti car folks should get a free ride but I do believe in mass transit iff done right which Seattle has not. It is what it is.

    1. People get labeled a troll when they write stupid shit. Solution: Don’t write stupid shit.

      By the way — your comment was not stupid. But writing a comment that starts out with “Transit will not return for a long time” is stupid, and likely trolling. Oh, and I’ve read plenty of comments here that qualify as trolling, even if they are fans of transit. For example, someone a while back wrote a statement about “flattening the curve” and obviously didn’t understand what that meant. Even after being corrected (with numerous articles) they kept writing stupid shit. That is also likely trolling.

    2. There’s overlap between legitimate guesses about the future and trolling. Both David Lawson and a troll can write the same words “Transit will not return for a long time” and mean different things by it. David would be analyzing indicators of what businesses and governments plan to do and extrapolating what would likely happen based on his extensive experience. A troll would be writing a knee-jerk reaction, or saying something he doesn’t believe in order to generate an angry response.

      When a commentator is new or we don’t remember what they’ve written before, we have only the words to go on, and RossB and I may reach different conclusions about their intent. Reasonable people often don’t say “probably” or “maybe” when they should, giving the impression they’re asserting it as a certainty. They don’t mention all their background, which would help justify their statement.

      It becomes clearer if they continue to post. Do they fill in the missing background and say “probably”? Or do they continue to say narrow-minded things or contradict themselves? (“one person can’t possibly believe all of these.”) Do they choose topics guaranteed to inflame people, or topics that get at improving people’s mobility and meeting their needs?

      1. Fair points. I just wish it was not so this way or that way. I would like to see the bridge gapped between both sides without having to create villains out of people where a situation simply wont fit. I think anymore the rhetoric has turned into a vicious back and forth.

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